Wednesday, May 7, 2014
My Writing Process: Story Seeds
Suzanne Warr tagged me and asked if I’d like to join the ‘My Writing Process’ blog hop. Be sure to check out her post, if you haven't already.
Usually, when I write about my process, I go on about how I like to use turning points, book maps and index cards to plot. This time I’ve decided to step back to the true beginning of my stories—to story seeds.
I think the perpetual need for inspiration is one reason writers have to make sure to get out of their writing cave and experience real life. Seeds can come from anywhere—from a painting in a museum (that’s where the love interest in my current WIP came from), to visiting a craft fair or farmer’s market (that’s how I learned about glassblowing and got a boatload of ideas for my published novelette THE BRAIDING), or just from driving around. With the addition of a few 'what if' questions, a unique building or a tree can sprout into a story. Sometimes it’s a snippet of an overheard conversation or an expression on a stranger’s face.
I carry a small notebook and pen with me at all times—and, yes, I’ve used paper scraps pulled out of the trash and napkins too. I take photos and videos. And, when I get home from an inspired trip, I add all the new seeds into my ongoing writing journal. Having them all in one place, saves time and avoids frustration.
Some seeds never grow into anything. But, usually, I end up combining a bunch of seeds from different times and places to come up with a more surprising and complex plot idea. Often the combined seed ideas end up getting trimmed, but better to start with more material than too little.
So go out, enjoy spring and see what ideas hit you—just be sure to record them all for future use. You never know which one’s will sprout into something fabulous.